The long evenings of summer are undoubtedly the best time of year to sit out and enjoy your garden. All the hard work of earlier in the year will have paid off and you should be rewarded with the brightest colours and best displays of the year.

Edible crops will begin to be ready for harvesting and most of the jobs that need doing will be general maintenance: dead-heading spent blooms, watering during dry spells and hoeing to keep down weed growth.

Sweet peas in particular will benefit if you keep picking them for a vase indoors and will produce more blooms. Cut back the first flush of flowering herbaceous perennials such as delphiniums and cranesbill geraniums to encourage them to flower again.

Vegetable crops will be coming into full flow now. Again, the more you pick certain crops, such as courgettes, beans and tomatoes, the more they will produce, so keep picking them regularly. Tomatoes will need weekly feeding with a high potash feed. This is also good for any flowering bedding.

We’ve had a few customers in recently looking for advice on starting a garden from scratch, and our first advice is always “don’t be too hasty!” Particularly for a new gardener the choice available can be daunting, and it’s much better to buy the right plants first time round.  We advise looking to see what grows well in your neighbours’ gardens, and popping into the garden centre regularly to see a wide range of options. Our stock changes weekly to reflect what’s best in each season. Remember too, we offer a free Personal Shopper Service for plants and gardening supplies, and we’re always happy to give you advice on which plants will suit your location and soil type best.

Indoor and conservatory plants can go outside for their summer holidays. They will enjoy a sunny spot on the patio and watering them outdoors is a great way to clean off the dust and dirt from their foliage. Greenhouses can get incredibly hot on sunny days so make sure they are well ventilated. If you’re going away on holiday then ask a neighbour to water your pots while you are away. You can make their job easier by moving them altogether to one spot, preferably out of full sun. Keep a bird bath topped up for our feathered friends.  If you don’t have one, just use a large plant pot saucer and fill it with water.

Taking photographs of your garden is a great way to remind you the following year what worked really well (and what didn’t!). It can be hard to remember later in the year just how big plants grew and a photo will remind you why you decided to move that particular plant! It’s also nice to have a record of your garden through the seasons and can be very interesting to look back on several years down the line. 

And lastly those boring but worthwhile jobs. It’s a good time of year to catch up on painting and preserving timber sheds, fences and garden furniture. Then sit down and admire your garden, perhaps while enjoying an alfresco meal with friends!

Ann Rosie and Julie - merryhatton team